MTF Laser Hair Removal vs Electrolysis: What’s Best for Permanent Results?

MTF Laser Hair Removal vs Electrolysis: What’s Best for Permanent Results?

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MTF Laser Hair Removal vs Electrolysis: What's Best for Permanent Results?

Nothing will make you feel more feminine than smooth, hair-free skin. There are lots of hair removal options for crossdressers and transgender women, including shaving, waxing, plucking, depilatories, etc.

But the holy grail is permanent hair removal. This is especially true if you’re planning a full transition.

So what’s best? Electrolysis? Laser hair removal? DIY devices? Creams?

In this post, I share what actually works for permanent hair removal – and the pros and cons of each method.


electrolysis illustration

First and foremost, electrolysis is considered the only TRULY permanent method of hair removal. During electrolysis, a small probe is inserted into hair follicles to damage the follicle with electricity.

Because each hair must be treated individually, electrolysis is very time consuming. It also takes more than one treatment per follicle, so you could be looking at years of weekly or bi-weekly appointments.


  • It’s the only method approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal.
  • It’s effective for all skin and hair colors.


  • It takes many sessions. For example, transgender facial electrolysis averages 70-90 hours all the way up to 300 hours.
  • It can be quite painful, especially in areas like the upper lip.
  • There’s a risk of skin discoloration or scarring if not performed properly.


Licensed electrologists charge from $75-$100+ per hour, so the full treatment can add up to thousands of dollars. However, once the hair is gone, it’s gone.

Laser Hair Removal – Professional

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is the most popular “permanent” hair removal method, but it’s important to know that it’s only approved for permanent hair REDUCTION. It uses lasers to damage hair follicles, reducing growth. It can thin the beard by 70%-85%.

Laser hair removal can inhibit hair growth for several years, but some or all of the hair can grow back – especially in people with fair hair. That means that you may need to have repeat maintenance sessions every 6-12 month.


  • It can treat large areas at once.
  • It’s much faster than electrolysis.
  • Most people see a significant reduction in hair growth after 3-8 sessions.
  • The hair grows back lighter and finer.
  • It’s less painful than electrolysis (though not totally pain-free).


  • It’s only effective for hair reduction, not 100% hair removal.
  • It’s most effective on people with light skin and dark hair. If you have darker skin or fair hair, it will not be as effective.
  • There’s a risk of skin discoloration or scarring if not performed properly.


Laser hair removal costs $50-$400 per area per appointment depending on size. That means it can also add up to thousands of dollars over the course of the treatment.

You can also check Groupon for deals, but be sure to research the facility carefully. Bargains aren’t always the best idea when it comes to your face and body.

Laser Hair Removal – At Home

Hair removal device

With the high cost of laser hair removal, there are now some decent options for doing it yourself. DIY devices can indeed work, but they aren’t without drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons of at-home laser hair removal:


  • It offers considerable cost savings over professional treatments.
  • It’s more convenient since you don’t have to schedule appointments.


  • It’s time consuming since at-home devices are smaller than pro devices.
  • It’s less effective since at-home devices aren’t as strong.
  • It’s hard to treat certain areas (like the back) when you’re treating yourself.
  • There’s more risk of side effects since you aren’t a trained pro.
  • The devices can be painful to use.

Many of the products marketed as laser hair removal devices are actually IPL devices (described below). 

However, the TRIA Beauty Laser Hair Removal Device 4X uses the same diode laser technology used in-office by dermatologists.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Intense pulsed light device

IPL is similar to laser hair removal, but it uses a different kind of light. Instead of a concentrated laser beam, IPL uses a broader spectrum of light that isn’t as focused.

Because of this, IPL can cover a larger treatment area, but it takes more sessions since the light is less powerful.


  • Faster than laser hair removal since it covers a larger area
  • Good availability of at-home devices
  • Usually less painful than laser hair removal


  • Requires more sessions compared to laser hair removal
  • More risk of irritation due to the broader light spectrum used
  • Can only be used on lighter skin tones / darker hair tones

Here are some popular and highly rated at-home IPL hair removal devices:

Let’s talk hair removal

Now that I’ve covered the options for permanent hair removal and reduction, I’d love to hear what YOU think.

Have you tried any of the procedures or products above? What were your results?

Please take my poll and share in the comments below!


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